The San Pakoy Market

The San Pakoy Market

One of our favorite local markets

The San Pakoy area is an area situated opposite to Wat Gate area and with Charoen Mueang road in the middle. Before the arrival of the railway to Chiang Mai this area was only a small community. The first community to settle here was the Ban Thasatoy community at the back of the present San Pakoy market. This market features in our Chiang Mai markets tour by samlor. It is one of our favorite local markets. San Pakoy is often spelt as San Pakoi.

Man preparing sweets San Pakoy Market
Man making Khanom Khrok

Establishment of the San Pakoy Market

With the arrival of the railway to Chiang Mai in 1922 a lot of Chinese immigrants from Bangkok moved into the San Pakoy area to make a living. It became an important business center in the city. Shops were on both sides of Charoen Mueang road making it the center for sending goods to Bangkok. The agricultural products from the surrounding areas of Chiang Mai were rice, pigs, tobacco and sealing wax.

The community was also the site for distributing goods from Bangkok to other markets around Chiang Mai. One native of Chiang Mai mentioned that at that time San Pakoy area was filled with warehouses for transporting goods to other areas and it was always busy with buyers and ox carts, which could be hired to haul goods. Chinese business men, like Mr.Song Sae-ung (Ungkhapairoj) owned the majority of the businesses.

He remembers that he traveled by train to Bangkok to buy salt, sugar and shrimp paste to be sold at his shop. Merchants from the Tonlamyai market and other surrounding markets would come to purchase his goods. Khun Anukornburee (an ancestor of the Nimakorn family) started the Leochunlee shop to sell bicycles that were shipped from Bangkok by rail.

Woman making pancakes
Making khanom beuang, San Pakoy Market

The heydays of the market

Between 1922 and 1927 the market slowly became what it still is now. When King Rama VII visited Chiang Mai in January 1927, the market already existed. Pra Pijitosod, Khun Anupolnakorn and Major General Anirutteawa (ML Feun Puengboon) were major investors in the market area. Nowadays the San Pakoy market is well-known for delicious food, especially Chinese. There are shops on both sides of Charoen Mueang road such as the famous Salapao Wikul (Chinese steamed bun) and Charoen Mueang restaurant can also be found here.

The center for Buddhists in this area is the San Pakoy temple, which is located to the market. This temple was initially located on the Ping River Bank.  After the temple was flooded it was moved to the present site. It was then renamed Wat San Pakoy. There is evidence showing that the chedi in this temple dates from the era of Prachao Kawirolot Suriyawong and the ceremony for the chedi took place in 1868. From the survey of this temple it was found that the present viharn was completed on 14 March, 1929.

The San Pakoy Market in 2020

Though this area has a separate temple for Chinese merchants it is understood that this temple is also the center for Chinese Buddhists in the area. The San Pakoy area met its decline when the road between Bangkok and Chiang Mai was completed. Road transportation replaced the railway because it was faster and because the train ran only two days a week. The market still oozes this old charm. Although it must have been much busier in the old days, it is still an important center of the community. Tourists very seldom visit this market, which makes it all the more enjoyable. See below the location of the market: